I Used to Run a Fandom Account

In the spring of my sophomore year of high school, my best friend Hayli and I decided to create a multi-fandom Instagram account, a place to post memes and sentimental posts dedicated to all of our favorite young-adult fiction series. We didn’t plan for it to become anything serious at the time, but the account went on to earn us over 2.5k followers. 

When I was sixteen, books were my escape. Growing up in my small Southern California town, I often felt lonely and separated from my peers. I experienced intense social anxiety, and had a horrible work-life balance, spending most of my time stressing over assignments and not taking time for self-care. I preferred reading to engaging in any kind of social activity. Besides Hayli and good friends I had made through Girl Scouts, theatre, and speech and debate, I didn’t feel like I had found “my people.” I found a place to belong within the pages of the books of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Cassandra Clare, Rick Riordan, and so many others. 

A photo of me dressed as Cath from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl on Halloween 2015, around the same time Hayli and I stopped posting on @twogirlsinabookworld.

 

I’ll admit it: I was a full-on fangirl. The worlds that these authors created were my safe havens, and the characters within them were my friends. When Hayli and I created “@twogirlsinabookworld,” I found thousands of other people for whom this was also true. I found people with whom I could connect.

Eventually, though, Hayli and I became distracted by the hecticness that is senior year of high school. College applications, finals, dances, and other responsibilities took up our time until, eventually, we stopped posting in the fall of 2015, and I lost track of the account entirely.

Recently, however, I stumbled back upon our account and was hit with a certain nostalgia, not only over our lack of posts since our senior year of high school, but also over the person who I was at the time at which we created the account. In the four years since Hayli or I last posted to the account, so much has changed. 

I came to Kenyon (the school where fandom-favorite John Green once attended), and I nurtured my love of English, but I also fell in love with psychology.

I became involved in a musical theatre a cappella group and a sorority (full of quirky, lovely, Harry-Potter-and-astrology-loving people), I have two on-campus tutoring jobs, and, after writing for Her Campus since my freshman year at Kenyon, I have taken over as a Campus Correspondent.

I spent last semester studying abroad in London (when I also travelled to Bath and took this photo outside of Jane Austen’s former home! A different fandom of sorts).

I have spent three happy years with a boy who makes me smile every day (even if he’s not fictional).

I have accepted a post-grad job teaching elementary school in Brooklyn (a job I got by proposing a lesson plan comparing Percy Jackson and Classical Greek mythology, by the way; I still have the fangirl in me).

Most importantly, one thing that has never changed is my friendship with Hayli (even if we live many states apart).

I have found my people, and more importantly, I have found myself.

My fandom account, and the books which led me to create it, were there for me at a time when I was much less happy than I am now. I am incredibly grateful that Hayli and I had a chance to foster in others the same love of books that we both still have, even if we eventually had to let go of our account once life got too busy.

I have gone through a lot of self-growth these past four years, but I am grateful for my roots. I am grateful for the people who liked me, even when I didn’t like myself very much. And I am incredibly grateful for the people who like me now and push me to continue being my best, including our remaining 1.5k followers who have stuck by us all these years. I am still a book girl in a book world. But the world outside of books can be pretty great, too. 

 

Image Credit: Feature, Author, 2, Author, 4